Michael sent us this link last month about Jackie Murphy, a 71-year-old Vietnam veteran who decided that whatever he was shoplifting at a local store in Harrodsburg, KY was worth shooting it out with responding officers. Of course they were better shots than Jackie and he ended up getting airlifted to the hospital.
But his friends blamed Jackie’s bad behavior on his service in Vietnam;
“Jack saw some very bad stuff in Vietnam, and he’s been having some problems, hearing voices and seeing Charlie,” Peyton said last week. “We were coming out of Loafers the other day and he said, ‘I just saw two VC (Vietnam Cong)!’ I said, ‘No, Jack, we’re in Harrodsburg. There are no VC here.’”
“I don’t know everything,” said Peyton, who also served in the Army after the war was over. “He’d tell me bits and pieces, and then he’d break up, so I don’t have the full story, all the details.
“His squad got overrun by the enemy. There was a lot of close fighting with helmets and knives, hand-to-hand combat,” Peyton said. “He was the only one who survived, and he had to crawl a long way to escape.
He was indeed a veteran of the Vietnam war. I don’t know how many squads of cannon-cockers there are who fought hand-to-hand in Vietnam, though;
All of that hand-to-gland fighting and not a scratch worth a Purple Heart? I wonder why a squad would force poor Jackie to drag his howitzer out on patrol in the jungle. While it’s quite possible he may have been in a close combat situation in a firebase where his battery was, it doesn’t seem likely that he would have had to crawl for miles away from the protection of the firebase.
And, I’m pretty sure that getting captured by loss prevention officers didn’t trigger any flash backs of his shoplifting escapades in the PX. He opened fire on the officers before they exited their patrol car, so you can’t blame it on the gunshots since his were the first.
While I’m not ready to say he doesn’t suffer from PTS or that he wasn’t in any situation that could have caused PTS, that’s not what people with PTS do. I’m just tired after 40 years of watching people take for granted that all Vietnam veterans are nuts. Although his story sounds fishy, I’m not ready to call him a phony. But, I will say that nothing he did that day was related to his service in Vietnam.